A Lightbulb Moment

Monday morning, training session with fab trainer J at 6 a.m. Some things, thankfully, gratefully, do not change in tumultuous times. 

I will likely return to regular training recaps in January. It is now December, and fab trainer is off to visit his family for Christmas in a couple of weeks, so sessions of late have been devoted to refining and sharpening technique and form on basic exercises and expanding my overall flexibility. The basic skills: little tiny part of me is crying and dying inside, because after nearly 3.5 years one would think I would have basic movements and movement patterns down cold. Ummm, no. Not so much, not hardly. And that little tiny part that is crying and dying: it’s origin is in negative girl’s cell where I keep her on lockdown 23.95/7. I like the learning. I like the ongoing march to perfect my skills. That I am still kind of lost in the forest on aspects of squats is another blog post for another day.

Mobility drills and stretching for flexibility are new chapter we have been pursuing the last few months. We have had dedicated session after dedicated session, and still, I am not quite there yet with the basic ability to replicate good form in session or on my own in practice. Truth of the matter is I do not practice this area nearly enough. I could say it is lack of equipment – big giant strength bands – or that I do not know them well enough to practice. Excuses, excuses. My motto is I prioritize what I value, and I have apparently not prioritized stretching and flexibility enough. Again, good and valid reasons only take me so far. I want to be better. I want to improve. I am just not inclined much of the days these days to do the work necessary to achieve those objectives. 

Until today. Maybe. 

With me, the biggest hurdle fab trainer may face is getting my attention and focus long enough to make something stick. We have our Lists. We go through them in session, we discuss in minute detail the how and the why and I then go forth and practice on my own. The “practice on my own” is absolute ground floor foundation for any and all forward progress, and other life-related issues have distracted me from this basic tenant. I am in the gym, I am pursuing a List, but much of 2018 it feels or has felt without direction or objective because my mind and focus has been so far away.

Perhaps it is time to change that. Hence today’s lightbulb moment.

So fab trainer has been physically trimming up since our shared loss a few weeks ago. He was far from heavy before, but the pounds lost are noticeable. He’s hard-charging ahead with moving his residence and tightening up his eating patterns, both necessary changes that had to be implemented. I always admire that about the gents in my life. They decide to trim down and drop some weight, and it seems like it effortlessly happens for them. M is presently carrying too much weight on his frame from nursing a long injury. However, once he decides it’s time to get busy and extending his range, he will stop eating gratuitous calories and be dropping 15, 20, 30 pounds within a short period of time. Both M and J have told me they find being lighter is a pathway to ease of movement, M in his running, J in yoga or any other athletic pursuit. 

I listen. I hear them. I am dedicated in my supportive cheerleading. And in the back of my mind, I believe their basic changes and practices do not apply to and will not work for me. None of it. Not the dropping weight. Not the potential gains in range, mobility, strength. Not the potential for looking better in clothes.

The negative self-image is strong with me.

In my life, plateaus happen not because my body stops responding to the healthier choices I am pursuing but because my head refuses to come up out of the sand and accept that there is a whole new range and “next level” of better choices to pursue. There is a cost to modifying my eating – I narrow even further the choices of foods I eat, portion size becomes a controlled variable, and resentment of my lot in life must be managed. There is a cost to pumping up the enthusiasm and focus with my exercise – I have to force myself to focus, do the work (no matter how psychologically painful it is in the moments), and set and stick to a schedule. 

Let me be real: lifestyle changes suck eggs. At first. Then I adjust to the new normal and it is my life and habit. Mission accomplished. But the time from here to there: whiney girl alive, well, and burrowing into my consciousness.

My lightbulb moment was this morning: arthritic elephants move with more fluidly and grace than you do. To put into context what brought this on, working with fab trainer on mobility and stretching exercises this morning he stated that part of the purpose of the series we are pursuing is to make transitions and getting up and down off the floor easier for me. While I am paraphrasing here, you can see what he says in the course of teaching and what my mind translates are occasionally vastly different things. My self-conscious sensitivity has toughened up quite a bit these last few years, and most of the time I can recognize and ignore the ridiculous things negative girl tosses at me. 

But every now and again something finds a chink in my armor and pierces my flesh.

I really do not wish to be in competition with arthritic elephants for fluidity and grace. I am actually alarmed at the idea swirling around and coloring my outlook. But I also recognize avoidance when I see it, and in my case, the sads are causing old, self-destructive habits to flare. The last time I had something hit me so strongly was a couple of months into working with fab trainer, when he said he’d like to see me in the gym at least twice before our next appointment in a week. A casual comment he probably still makes multiple times daily with other clients, but it was the catapult that got me onto the gym consistency track. 

In my roundabout way, I am going to be exploring direct action to drop some weight. My doc is a obesity specialist and has a program specifically designed to help people with weight loss, but I have never pursued it. I am not sure I will pursue it now, except to get some realistic guidelines on portion control and meal plans. I do not frame this as a goal, because to do so is to invite failure. However, I do believe some restructure in my normal habits with diet and exercise is warranted. I want to add some yoga to my life (maybe). I would like to do some hiking in the spring. Lighter is only going to benefit me in these endeavors.

Plus I can then outrun and blot out mind pictures of arthritic elephants.

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